Preparing for an Australian Stock Horse Show

As with any horse discipline, all the required training for a horse event or show will have been done at home before the event. In this way, both horse and rider attend the event well prepared knowing what to expect.

Horse Preparation:

At the very least, the horse should be clean, brushed and well presented. Australian Stock Horses usually have their manes removed (with clippers) except for the forelock. It is not a requirement though to remove a mane.

stock horse with mane clipped for show

Most riders will use the day before a show to wash and ‘prepare’ their horses. This can be as simple as a wash, and as complicated as several different types of shampoo, conditioners for tails, horse dye for tails (if they have been sunburned) and the application of coat sprays to highlight the natural colour of the horse (NB: do not use the spray in the saddle region).

Keeping the horse clean before the show is usually achieved with covers, hoods and tail bags. Not surprisingly, all this preparation can take a few hours, so it is a good idea to do it all the day before.


Bridles and saddles should be clean. Equipment does not need to be brand new, expensive or fancy. It must however, be safe.

An Australian Stock Horse may be shown in traditional stock equipment consisting of a plain stock horse bridle and snaffle bit (a Barcoo is a common type) usually without a noseband, a breast plate attached to a stock saddle.

Riders who compete mainly in English classes will also show their horses in English saddlery consisting of a plain bridle (snaffle) with or without a cavesson nose band.

It is generally advised to use a Stock Horse saddle cloth for both types of equipment.

Western saddles, hackamores, tie downs, martingales, dropped and grackle nosebands etc are not permitted. Please see the current Events Handbook for further clarification.

The Day of the Show/Event:

When you step out into an event / show ring with your horse, you will be presenting yourself and your horse to a judge.

Hughie at show

As a mark of respect for the breed and the judge, it is necessary to ensure that both you and your horse are well presented.

Dress yourself according to the Events Handbook, in clean, well fitting clothing. As with a clean horse, a clean and tidy rider is a pleasant picture of the breed.

Be punctual to a class, respectful of other horses and riders and to the judge, and other officials.